/ Please advise on my firework photos?
All images were shot at ISO 640 and at f5. The lens would only go down to f4 so I upped it a couple of notches to try and get a little more detail. Not sure if this was a good idea or not.
Generally I think the exposures are good, and the compositions work if that is what you wanted (looks like the same semi-wide shot to include the tower and the sea) but they all seem a bit "soft" optically, and I am not sure what you can do about that as that might be a phenomenon of the lens and its aperture. I have only shot fireworks once, in about 2001 with a film SLR on a tripod with bulb release and loaded with generic Jessops colour neg film, and my results were somehow sharper than yours - that's why I am questioning the optics, as it looks as if your planning and intent and execution were fine.
Personally I'd have gone for a bolder zoom - you are shooting fireworks, not "fireworks with the Blackpool tower in the frame and some sea", but that's only personal!
I would recommend that if you want critique on a set of photos, that you put those photos into a "Set" on flickr. It makes it easier to flick from one photo to the next that way.
This togger has similar set up to you http://www.flickr.com/photos/zrobulj/8012647004/ looking at the composition it looks more like cosmic event, rather than a nightime landscape shot of fireworks.
He is also using a lower ISO equals less noise, equals more clarity.
They are good, particularly the black sky bursts....
Yes, butterfly is Red Admiral.
The fireworks shots.
A couple of wider shots for reference to the location in a series like this is good, but the rest would be better tighter in and with sharper detail. A faster shutter might help with that. Up the ISO to give you that. Maybe even go up to f5.6 to help sharpness, if you can get away with upping the ISO enough without noise.
Bear in mind that going tighter in usually means a higher f stop and therefore a slower shutter.
Thank you everybody for the replies, they were all helpful.
You'd do well to get a *much* faster lens for this sort of thing, though: shooting at ISO 200 with an F/2 lens would make a major difference. I don't know what model camera you were usng but investigating old, manual focus primes might be an idea for this sort of shot?
Last week I went out with my 35mm Prime and intended to use that as the tide was in. On the night though I went for my zoom lens which isn't as fast as the prime so I took a punt. I think that some of the images could be out of focus as all I had was the Tower to use as a reference point. Some times I used manual and some times, during the shoot, I chose auto focus. I would have preferred to lower the ISO but I was limited by the speed of aperture available to me.
learning experience all round.
One piece of advice - try stacking multiple images.
I think one problem with firework pictures is that they only capture a very short period, when one's perception and memory of a display is more cumulative. You picture a sky full of flashes and streaks and many shapes and colours... but in the pictures you see just one brief snapshot of this which doesn't really reflect the experience at all.
That's why I think you can produce some really good images by combining different pictures. Might be worth a try anyway.
This was taken at f8 with a 3.2 second exposure triggered remotely just before the firework exploded. can be a bit hit and miss getting the timing of the firework right sometimes.
Reason you don't won't a wide open aperture is because the depth of field will be too narrow for the moving light and will therefore look soft. Also on basic lenses the image tends to go softer towards the edges of the frame the closer to the limits of their aperture range therefore going more towards f8 it should sharpen things up on images where it's really obvious to see this effect such as firework images.
I used to hold the shutter open on bulb and hold black card over the lens, and put the card in and out of the way. You get a few bursts onto the same image then (same as overlaying images but somehow more "purist"). Another fun trick was to lift the card in and out of the lens path during a single firework, which "chops up" the light streams. Depends to what extend you can hold the camera on bulb (I am talking about a film SLR with a mechanical lockable cable release)
here is a fun looking technique to try, refocussing during the exposure http://www.petapixel.com/2012/08/27/creative-firework-photographs-shot-by-refocusing-during-long-exp...
what you don't want to do is get the exposure wrong when they send all the fireworks off at once http://www.petapixel.com/2012/07/12/close-up-view-of-the-san-diego-fireworks-fail/
The refocusing ones are fab!
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